Donald Trump is the only honest American politician. Yes, there are dozens of things he said that are factually untrue. Many of them may make you angry, but noting them at length is pedantry. On the big things he's telling the truth. He is telling the truth about the most important issue of our age: that our elite institutions have failed, that our representatives do not represent us and act without accountability.
America really was gutted by globalization. Bill Clinton signed NAFTA and his economic growth was a house of cards built on calamitous deregulation and fraud. George Bush really did fail to prevent the attacks of 9/11. John McCain is a pathetic war criminal and not a hero. Hillary Clinton is crooked, a liar, and an unindicted felon who got off because of her political standing. She really did rig the primary. Most of these were sold as "shocking" at the time, but they're all factually correct.
Take the Iraq War. Yes, it is true he was on record supporting it, and yes, he lies that he isn't. It is also true that he was less in support of it, less responsible for it than Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party, and the collective of political hacks that today line up against him. He lies and he says he didn't support it. They lie and say they're sorry. Does this alleged sorrow mean anything? The corpses haven't come back to life. The hacks are still in good standing. With only a few exceptions, they still lustily hump every proposed military action that comes across the table. And that's among liberals and moderates. The conservative elite that sold that war and has lined up against Trump hasn't feigned remorse one iota more than he does. And then they call him a liar and presume to stand in judgment while their forearms still scab and bleed from the thrashing of their waterboarding victims.
He is telling the truth when he says our press is failing, out of touch, loathed, and openly hostile to democracy. Democracy is fine to our press when it validates whatever they wanted to do anyway. When it doesn't, we see the results in recent memory. In the UK press, the sweeping denunciation of popular opinion after Brexit, open calls to simply ignore the vote, citing Greece as a positive example. The vicious, baseless and interminable campaign against Corbyn for his crimes of winning elections and then refusing to step down for no reason. In the US, the still-laughable priestly proclamations that Trump could never seize the nomination, wishful thinking, based on nothing, dressed up as authoritative predictions of the future. Followed then by the same kind of vulgar thinkpieces on how democracy really isn't so great by the elites and the dorks who cosplay as them on the internet.
In this way Trump is making others around him more honest. These jabbering nerds have contempt for democracy, and think the common people should be prohibited from being involved in the process, except as a rubberstamp. Most of the time they keep this to themselves. But there is no doubt that they will yell it loud and proud across the world the week after a Trump victory, even a Clinton victory they deem insufficiently large. They and their masters in office have about as much love for democracy in America as they had for it in Honduras, Egypt or Chile.
Trump forced the press to admit the lie behind its most absurd self-justifying mechanism: the idea that they are objective. On social media, Democratic partisans scream that the press is unfairly biased against Hillary, but only their most saucer-eyed, quivering, fanatical, good-to-deliver-a-suicide-bomb-and-nothing-else followers really believe this. The press is openly against Trump and have completely abandoned the old he-said-she-said model to editorialize openly in whole new contexts about him. They say this is required because Trump is such a moral disaster. This didn't stop them from saying the phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques" for 15 years running with every lumpy syllable sliding out of their mouths and hitting the ground like horseshit on hot asphalt. It didn't make them demand universal health coverage upon learning that twenty to forty-five thousand Americans die every year from a lack of health insurance. They simply didn't care that much until it was their own position on the line.
In addition to dropping the pretense of neutrality, at Deadspin, Ashley Feinberg argues that the press should also drop the idea that they protect their sources, if it helps defeat Trump. She writes that “we ignored all of these warning signs for months in favor of bitching about Hillary Clinton not giving press conferences.”
This is a lie. She writes this on a website that has been vehemently and viciously denouncing Donald Trump multiple times a day for a year. Trump has received no major newspaper or magazine endorsements and it is difficult to find a media personality not on Fox News or Breitbart who has not repeatedly denounced him. He is nonetheless still a viable threat for the Presidency. Matt Taibbi correctly recognizes this, but blames it on the stupidity of the voters and how they like reality TV.
I propose an alternative explanation for the media: your denunciations aren't working because half the country doesn't listen to or care about your opinion at all. They ignore and loathe you at least largely because they believe that you don't care about them, basically dislike them, and feel like it's okay to lie to them to push your agenda over their interests. Many of these people are racist, stupid, and ignorant and they are also right on this. Your behavior this election cycle certainly isn't going to change their minds. Only a handful of you have even bothered to wonder why the working class has so abandoned you, preferring to take the easier answer that "working class" is Actually a racist dogwhistle.
The media has been forced now to abandon these pretenses of objectivity and rules because as the manufacturing of steel and textiles and paper has been gutted in this country, so with it has gone the manufacturing of consent. The Republican party and its dweeby kingmakers did everything legal to stop Trump from becoming the nominee. They failed. Today the Democratic party and the entirety of the media that isn't openly right-wing are allied against Trump and it is still plausible that he might win. The old institutions have lost their power to command.
Trump has forced all these truths into the open. Even in some of Trump's most scandalous statements we find truth. Recently, he said that he could abuse women because "when you're a star, you can do anything to women." This is horrible and it is true. Does anyone dispute that it is true? Ask Bill Cosby if it's true. Ask Roger Ailes or Bill Clinton or Bill O'Reilly or Tiger Woods. Is the problem that we have created a class of people who can do whatever they want and use their power and privilege (from the Latin privus lex, "private law") to be immunized from consequences, or is the problem that Donald Trump is one of them and didn't lie about it?
He said during the first debate that avoiding taxes "makes him smart." Democrats were aghast and many of them got right on their iPhones and Macbooks to express shock that a billion-dollar business would think it was smart to avoid taxes. Now, sex scandals make the news, but not all of those in power want to betray, assault and rape women and get away with it. Slightly fewer simply want to betray, assault and rape children and get away with it. A lot of them just want to drive drunk and abuse drugs and not go to jail. Some want to avoid their taxes or sell fraudulent investments or launder billions for mass-murdering cartels, while others merely want to illegally spy on everyone in the world. Some of them want to kill millions of Arabs or Indochinese on a whim and a lie but still get hugs from Michelle Obama and get to dance on the Steven Colbert show.
Aren't they "smart" to do use their power to get out of the consequences of these things, according to bourgeois logic? Wouldn't it be dumb to sit in a cell for years when you could easily avoid it, especially when you know firsthand that the system is bullshit and doesn't apply to you?
Make no mistake, Trump is belligerent and racist, bigoted and misogynist. In that, too, is truth. He did not sugarcoat these things, or hide them. He came out early and yelled them through a megaphone and people voted for him in droves. We were all living in a lie that Trump has pulled us out of. Liberalism has done nothing to end racism. For a few decades it used social shaming, corporate power and the market to shun racists and drive them off the airwaves. But they didn't go away. Their grievances didn't go away. They blossomed again in anonymity because in those intervening decades liberals didn't do anything to undermine them. Liberals are very good at shaming and firing people who use racist slurs. They were very bad at changing the generational poverty and systemic racism that is the real cause of the statistics about criminality in minority communities that racists use to justify their beliefs today. Very good at reducing the crime rate. Very bad at reducing the prison population. They were very good at yelling at people who told beaner jokes on twitter and very bad at prosecuting companies that use undocumented labor. Very good at eating from organic taco carts and very bad at passing reforms that make these workers anything other than scabs with no rights, deported at a whim, against whom labor is supposed to compete, fueling today the decades of misdirected resentment that has propelled Trump to the greatest stage.
Liberals might protest that they were trying to resolve these underlying issues but the Republicans blocked them. The extent that they were trying might seem debatable, but the proof is in the pudding: they weren't trying hard enough to abandon objectivity in journalism and work as a united front, since apparently that was always an option.
No sooner has Trump has removed the sand from our eyes that the vampire soothsayers attempt to put us back to sleep: Trump is not a real conservative, they say. He has no friends in power. Most Republicans don't want to vote for him. He's an anomaly, he means nothing about the greater Republican party. We didn't know who he was. These are all lies. They are lies told to us not just by desperate Republicans, but also by establishment Democrats who agree with those Republicans on most things. They're lies from a campaign keen to bring on the endorsements of just a few dozen discredited insane war criminals if they think it helps them peel a few right-wing voters off of Trump. These lies seek to remove culpability for Trump, not just from Republicans but from Democrats.
Hillary links Trump to white supremacists and says the old Mexican proverb of "tell me with whom you walk, and I'll tell you who you are," because guilt by association goes down smoother when in the form of folksy apocryphal ethnic hucksterism. But let's be real here. Trump is a pig and a racist. This has been clear for a very long time. He had his own TV show on primetime NBC for years. He was a political donor to the Democrats and Republicans for decades. He is a billionaire with business deals across the country. Hillary and Bill went to his wedding. If we are to take this logic, and we should, then it should show us what the establishment is for walking with him for so long.
And here we come to the crux of the issue. At the most recent debate Trump expressed that he would hire a special prosecutor to look into Hillary's crimes, and quipped that if he were President during the initial investigation, Hillary would be in jail. The media sphere was shocked. Dozens and dozens erupted in denunciations that such a thing was a threat to democracy, a third-world horror. Apparently without irony, the New York Times released an article titled "Threat to Jail Clinton Smacks of ‘Tin-Pot Dictators,’ Experts Say." This was followed in true liberal fashion by "blowback" that, yes, this was a terrible thing to say, but they shouldn't use impolite and orientalist terms like "third world" to describe it. The point is, you'd think from the reaction it was the worst thing he ever said.
It isn't. It is the best and perhaps only good reason to vote for Trump.
It is important to note that the people telling us today that it is a horrible idea to prosecute Hillary Clinton are in large part not doing so out of partisan affiliation, at least in the Red-team-Blue-team sense we usually think about. Her apologists today are largely the same litter of weasels who told us how irrational and cruel and impossible it would be to prosecute Bush and his cronies for torture and mass death in aggressive war. Rather, their allegiance is not to these provincial ideals, but to elite institutions and the Beltway establishment, to protect them from the consequences of their rampant lawlessness. This is simple personal loyalty: They attend all the same parties. They are members of this establishment, draw fame and connections from it, have family among it, are married into it. At lower levels of access they merely have friends among this class, or at least friends-of-friends, and seek to move further into the establishment for increased status and wealth. And at the lowest levels, some have no connection to or particular cause for allegiance to the elite class, but merely mouth their cliches because they have been made to believe that these are the things that the smart and serious people say about politics. As the man said, "They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance, they are revolutionary, they are only so in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat; they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat. "
The horror expressed at the idea of the prosecution of Hillary Clinton isn't new. It's been large part of a particular form of sycophancy common to reporter-on-the-ground pieces in liberal and leftist journals. They come across some gaggle of caricatures wearing Hillary For Prison T-shirts or chanting "Lock her up" and become just gobsmacked because this is a former Secretary of State they're talking about this way!! As though this sentiment that because someone is powerful they don't have to abide by the rules isn't the same reason Donald Trump felt like he could grab you by the pussy.
Hillary Clinton is a criminal. She operated an illegal collection of unsecured records to dodge personal accountability and transparency in her communications and destroyed evidence to cover it up. To explain her behavior she played the doddering old grandma who can't figure out her emails and skated because of her personal political connections. She was, in addition to this, actively complicit in the US government's programs to illegally spy on all of your communications, denounced the man who revealed this to you, called for his prosecution. She deserves to be in jail as much as anyone alive.
To be clear: This is not the most pressing or important reason she needs to be in jail, not by a longshot, but sometimes you have to get Capone on tax evasion.
Let's get the small potatoes of election rigging and environmental destruction out of the way first. Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC colluded to give her the advantage in the primary election, which led the entire leadership fo the DNC to resign in disgrace. This is likely not illegal, but it should be the end of any claims that her election is some great gift to democracy. The likely first female president will walk in with a Jose Canseco-sized asterisk next to her name. And while liberals yell about Donald Trump's lie that global warming is a Chinese hoax, they remain deathly silent about Hillary, in her role expanding and selling hydraulic fracturing to other countries, claiming without evidence that many environmental groups are just Russian fronts. The deeply deranged and ongoing reflexive response from her campaign and fans that unpleasant facts and opposition can be dismissed as secret Enemy Action by the Russians is a phenomenon that began at the top.
She immediately went back on her pledge to fight for a living minimum wage for the American worker, but that's to be expected. Clinton's State Department was the prime actor of successfully lobbying Haiti to reduce its minimum wage from 61 cents an hour to 31 cents an hour.
To resolve the impasse between the factory owners and Parliament, the State Department urged quick intervention by then Haitian President René Préval.
Two months later Préval negotiated a deal with Parliament to create a two-tiered minimum wage increase—one for the textile industry at about $3 per day and one for all other industrial and commercial sectors at about $5 per day.
Still the US Embassy wasn't pleased. A deputy chief of mission, David E. Lindwall, said the $5 per day minimum “did not take economic reality into account” but was a populist measure aimed at appealing to “the unemployed and underpaid masses.”
The Clinton Foundation followed up this largesse to the working people of Haiti by dumping defective storm shelters in Haiti that were full of poison, built by a contractor being sued by the US government for the same scam post-Katrina. And in other "third world shenanigans," her state department, on her orders, legitimized and entrenched the coup against the democratically-elected President of Honduras:
Clinton admits that she used the power of her office to make sure that Zelaya would not return to office. “In the subsequent days (after the coup) I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary (Patricia) Espinosa in Mexico,” Clinton writes. “We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”
This may not come as a surprise to those who followed the post-coup drama closely. (...) But the official storyline, which was dutifully accepted by most in the media, was that the Obama administration actually opposed the coup and wanted Zelaya to return to office.
But of course this is all still pretty meager compared to her record in the middle east. No, I'm not talking about how she voted for the Iraq War, or how she attacks and fights the BDS movement, or pledges ever more loyalty and money to Israel. I'm not talking about her hawkish stance on Syria even though she admits privately that this would kill a lot of Syrians. I'm not even speaking about how she said Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian dictator ousted by the Arab Spring, was a "personal friend of her family," nor am I talking about how she privately says that Saudi Arabia and Qatar fund ISIS while her foundation takes millions of dollars from them and she and Bill said this upon the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah:
Hillary and I are also grateful for his personal friendship and kindness toward our family and we join the Saudi people in mourning his loss and send our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family.
Hey, what was that about who you walk with telling me who you are? Anyway, her worst act in the middle east is none of that. It's what I believe to be the most consequential document in the Wikileaks releases, and one given the least play. Here it is:
Re: France's client & Qaddafi's gold
On April 2, 2011 sources with access to advisors to Salt al-Islam Qaddafi stated in strictest confidence that while the freezing of Libya's foreign bank accounts presents Muammar Qaddafi with serious challenges, his ability to equip and maintain his armed forces and intelligence services remains intact. According to sensitive information available to this these individuals, Qaddafi's government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver. During late March, 2011 these stocks were moved to SABHA (south west in the direction of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad); taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli.
This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French.franc (CFA).
(Source Comment: According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy's plans are driven by the following issues:
a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b.Increase French influence in North Africa,
UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05779612 Date: 12/31/2015
c. Improve his intemai political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi's long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa)
So not only did Hillary knowingly support what can only be described as French imperialism in Africa, she pushed the comparatively recalcitrant Obama to go to war over it in opposition to Congress, while selling it to the rest of us as a pressingly necessary humanitarian war effort.
Establishment politicos, thinkpiecers, apparatchicks and officials cheered and gave great victory dances as Libya fell, denouncing opponents of the war, calling it a model for future interventions. Hillary Clinton personally quipped upon Gaddhafi's death: "We came, we saw, he died."
They're a lot quieter now.
Libya is, to quote Trump speaking truthfully again, a disaster. The gold they were so worried about is now in the hands of ISIS. The nation that once had the highest standard of living in Africa is now in chaos, where state forces barely hold the capital and the rest of the country is ruled by ISIS and local gangs. We'll never know how many have been killed or maimed in this conflict, but millions have been displaced and are a large part of the refugee crisis gripping Europe, and in turn, its slide to right-wing reaction. People are being beheaded and tortured to death in the countryside and the situation is continuing to degenerate.
Her apologists might say that none of these policies are surprising, that she's just acting in the system around her, that that's the way the world works. And again by that logic if you're you're naive and shrill for getting upset at rampant criminality and mass death, you're naive and shrill for getting mad that Donald Trump is a racist who sexually assaulted women. It's not surprising, he's a product of his environment, and that's the way the world works. Right? Where are the innumerable op-eds on that?
There is always some debate over what policies Donald Trump actually could or actually would put in place as President. People who are trying to hold their nose to vote for him will say that his Muslim ban or his Mexico wall aren't serious proposals, or would be blocked by Congress or the courts. This is all speculation - the degree to which you believe he can actually do these things is almost entirely predicated on your politics. But when it comes to his threat of a special prosecutor, that is something he can actually do all by himself and actually appears willing to do. We can therefore believe reasonably that he is telling the truth and it would happen upon his election.
The screaming about how it's un-American to prosecute your political opponents has, in practice, a shred of truth in it. As Chomsky says, "if the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American President would have been hanged." The standard workaround for this fact, then, by every postwar President has been to never investigate or prosecute their predecessors lest their replacement the same to them. This has been a phenomenally successful system for letting generations of Presidential administrations get away with war crimes that carry the penalty of death. It has been a very poor system for reducing the numbers of those crimes. It is to be expected that the neoliberal and conservative political establishment and their hired gimp slaves should consider this system to be sacrosanct. We are under no such obligation of allegiance. It should be destroyed.
It is true that Hillary Clinton is a liar who rigged the primary, supported coups, undermined laborers working for pennies an hour, sold fracking around the world and slandered its opponents as Russian agents. It is true that she is reponsible for the deaths and suffering of millions. It is true that Donald Trump is a gross, racist, misogynist, belliegerent, hateful bastard, and it is true that he will punish her. No one else will. He will not punish her for her complicity in imperialism, sure. But she will see the inside of a cell. Yes, it's all true that she will feel no remorse, that her fanboys will call her Mandela, and that it will be disgusting. But a member of the elite political class will be imprisoned, will suffer for their crimes knowing that they are suffering for their crimes.
What other candidate can honestly promise you that?
Those in favor, raise your hands.